When you are loading up your golf bag, you obviously think of the essential items you need like golf clubs, golf shoes, golf balls, and tees. But one of the most important is often missed…sunscreen. Continue reading to find the best sunscreen for golfers, and exactly why you need it!

Why Do Golfers Need Sunscreen?

As a golfer, you spend most of your round under the sun, with little cover. You may be able to grab a minute or two of shade under a tree, but most of the time you are exposed to the sun. While the vitamin D may be great for your body, too much exposure to the sun without protection can cause long-term problems to your skin.

Sun Damage

Sun damage begins during your childhood with exposure to UV light from the sun. As you age, frequent sun exposure plays havoc on the body’s ability to repair itself, causing damage to the DNA of your skin cells. All of those sunburns you had as a kid add up contributing to years of damage to layers of skin. We grow older; we grow wiser.

In today’s day and age, science has given us the opportunity actually to see the damage the sun causes. And as an avid golfer, the senior pros at your country club may have a nice tan, but you will see the evident damage that has already been caused by the leathery appearance of their skin and the age spots that now cover their face, neck, and arms.

Skin Cancer: The Most Common Form of Cancer

Cancer can be caused purely from genetic bad luck, but more commonly, skin cancer is caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. There are more new cases found each year than other cancers.

Three types of skin cancer

Melanoma is the rarest form of skin cancer, yet it is the deadliest. It may only account for a small percent of cancer cases, yet, it is the most fatal, once it metastasizes to various areas of the body.

The next, less severe, skin cancer is known as squamous cell carcinoma. The treatment for this is typically a straightforward approach unless the cancer has spread. It is still dangerous.

The most commonly widespread form of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma. It rarely spreads, and if it is a superficial tumor, it can be removed surgically, and sometimes even by a topical cream or light therapy. This sounds simple, right? Wrong! Even though this is the best type of skin cancer you can get, if someone was pointing a gun to your head and you had to choose. However, once you have had frequent bouts of this type of cancer, your odds significantly increase for developing other cancers such as colon, prostate, or breast cancer. (https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2018/08/common-skin-cancer-can-signal-increased-risk-of-other-cancers.html)

How to Avoid Skin Damage with Sunscreen

Avoiding the harmful effects of the sun seems like a simple task if your passion is needlepoint! It is unavoidable when you are a golfer. Even on a nice, comfortable March day in Florida, you can still get burnt. For some reason, as humans, we think nothing of applying sunscreen when we are on vacation in another state. But, do you think to apply sunscreen before you leave your house to tee off at the local country club? My guess is probably not. And if you have applied suntan lotion before, you probably didn’t again since you used the greasy sunblock that your wife uses on the kids at the pool. It took you the first four holes to be able to grip your club correctly!

What to Look for in Sunscreen for Golfers

When searching for sun protection, your best bet is to always go with broad-spectrum protection. This means that the sunscreen will protect you from UVB and UVA rays, both of which contribute to skin damage and aging, raising your risks for skin cancer. No product on the market can be labeled as broad-spectrum unless it has been tested to meet the standards. So rest assured, when you purchase a sunscreen that states broad spectrum on the label, you are doubly protected.

According to the American Cancer Society, choose a sunscreen that has an SPF rating of 30 or more. When participating in outside events such as golf, you want a product that is water-resistant. Any sunscreen claiming to be waterproof is a lie. Water-resistant, yes. Waterproof, no. Important to remember! Now, as a water-resistant lotion, the manufacturer must tell you how long it will last. Times range from 40 to 80 minutes, maximum. No product will be sweat resistant over 80 minutes.

We have chosen to review some of the top picks for the best sunscreens for golfers, and you will find our results below. Don’t let the sunshine keep you off the course!

The Best Sunscreens for Golf

EltaMD UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 50

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Mineral-based, moisturizing, great for light completions, and extremely lightweight on my face. It is mineral-based and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It can be applied to wet or dry skin and blends in quickly with no white residue. Elta has been in business for over 25 years.

The biggest factor that stood out for me with the Elta MD was how light it felt on my face. So light and gentle, you can share this sunscreen with your wife to be used under her makeup. And lets face it, when we keep ordering more and more products for golf, she tends to get a bit grumpy! Approach this purchase as a his and hers gift! Perfect for both of you! Even though this is a bit pricier than the others, I feel it is definitely worth it, especially if you have a fair complexion. This will be my go-to face lotion when one the golf course.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid Extreme, Spf 60-1.7 Oz, 1.75 Oz

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When someone puts this much time into reviewing sunscreen, you can rest assured that I burn very easily. Again, I am fair complected, as well. I need a sunscreen that can keep up with my love of golf and exposure to harsh rays. I loved La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk the first day I used it. I only had time to play nine holes, but it was blistering hot, and I was wiping my face a great deal. I was amazed that it worked perfectly. When I got home, I could see no signs of sun exposure on my fair skin, and it was no different the next day.

This sunscreen milk blends into the face and body and moisturizes without leaving any residue. This La Roche-Posay Anthelios product costs more than many sunscreens, but it is a quality product, and I highly recommend it to anyone who spends a lot of time in the sun.


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I used this little gem on a golf trip to Florida, in May. I was looking for a higher SPF rating, and 50 seemed to be a good choice. What really attracted my attention to this product was the price… for a two, 4-ounce tubes it was very affordable! Another added bonus, SPF Rx is Broad Spectrum, so it protects against both UVB and UVA rays!

The next factor that was important to me was the ingredients. My dermatologist told me that the best sunscreen to use is mineral-based. Of course, he wasn’t going to give me a name, so I set out to find one on my own. Being that the main ingredients in this product are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide, both non-toxic and pure minerals, that checked off that criteria.

Additional ingredients such as Aloe Vera leaf juice and Shea butter will help moisturize your skin while providing the beneficial healing powers of Vitamins A and E. Another ingredient in SPF Rx is Cinnamic acid which has been known to be an effective natural UV sun protector. This golfers sunscreen is definitely in my top five!

Skin Sunscreen Golf SPF 30

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When I decided to dig a little deeper into protecting my skin on the course, I went directly in search of sun protection that is made for golfers! Yes, that is actually a thing (I didn’t believe it either)! And better yet, it was developed by golfers! Win-Win! This lotion is mineral-based and contains Manuka Honey that helped keep my skin feeling hydrated.

SKIN Sunscreen Golf SPF 30 is Broad Spectrum which protects from UVA and UVB rays. Other additional benefits are:

  • Made in the USA
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Mineral-based, containing Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide
  • Water-Resistant
  • Oxybenzone Free
  • Gluten-Free

When trying out the SKIN Sunscreen Golf, I was pleasantly surprised by the non-greasy formula. It worked remarkably well after I started sweating.

Waxhead Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Stick

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The best way to apply Waxhead sunscreen stick is by drawing long strokes on each of your arms and legs. Allow for a space of about an inch or less between stripes, (or you could choose to apply the product using a wide zigzag on other parts of your body). Use your fingers to rub the product in, going crosswise against the stripes, and blending the coating until it is even.

When I was using the Waxhead sunscreen stick, I stayed out in the sun for at least eight hours each day, and the only time I had to reapply it was when temps broke 100 degrees, and it was terribly humid. I probably could’ve gone all day without reapplying, but to be on the safe side, I decided to reapply after the turn. I did not burn at all! I did, however, notice a nice even tan.

The product goes on thick, but as long as you spread it evenly, you will be fine. I wanted to get a sunscreen that would work for my entire family, and this one was easy to use. I was also looking to avoid breathing in the spray sunscreen products. A mineral sunscreen is what I was looking for, and Waxhead fit the bill. Zinc Oxide has been in use for many years without problems, although some recent formulations that use nano-Zinc Oxide have resulted in skin sensitivity or allergies.

When you first apply Waxhead, the product is a bit white and thick, and you do need to make an effort to rub it in. Using the stick was easy and fast. I discovered that after rubbing the wax into my skin lightly, the whiteness disappeared within just a few minutes. My hands were a little greasy, but that wiped right off on my golf towel.

This product has excellent water resistance, and it doesn’t leave a strange film on the skin the way that chemical sunscreens do. It only took soap and water to remove it whereas a lot more scrubbing is required to get the chemical sunscreens off. The product may seem a bit expensive, but it is a good purchase since you can easily see where you have applied it.

I look forward to trying other products made by the Waxhead company.

And The Winner Is…

EltaMD UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 50

EltaMD UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 is the best all-around sunscreen for golf. It won’t make your hands greasy and won’t make you look like a ghost. If you want to avoid looking like a lobster after a few rounds or if you just need to avoid the sunglasses tan line, this is the sunscreen for you. I would spend an extra few bucks every day of the week to know that I am protecting my skin, while not interfering with my golf game.

I did my research upfront before even picking five different products to review. All of the above are mineral-based and have performed incredibly well for my intended use – golfing. Although each product is more expensive than your local pharmacy brand, there is no comparison.

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